Local, Affordable In-Person Learning Options

Christine Johnson, Cued Forward on

As with online learning, there are many no-cost and low-cost in-person learning options (seminars, workshops, and conferences) employers can utilize, particularly in their local communities. Here are three great places employers can look for free and low-cost in-person local learning opportunities.


Libraries have seen a revitalization in recent years because of a tight economy, the improved quality of the materials they offer for check-out as well as the training programs offered on site at little to no-cost to the participants.  I know some may be hesitant to sign-up for a business-related training program offered through a library, but libraries have partnered with community businesses to offer relevant content that covers both personal and professional topics.

Are you a small business wanting to learn more about easy wellness options for your employees?  One library in the suburbs northwest of Chicago is offering a class on exploring healthy eating and wellness apps.  Leadership? A library in the suburbs of Atlanta is offering a transformation leadership program as part of their MBA speaker series. Increase the bottom line?   A library outside of Denver is offering a 2-hour session on how to engage employees in profit growth.  The program will provide easy to understand tools to educate and excite employees about the organization’s business plan.

While some libraries do require you to be a member to participate, many do not and are open to the public.

Community Colleges

Community colleges are an often missed resource for employee training programs.  Many community colleges offer business-related and personal development classes either through their main campus or through a business development center.   These training classes are typically not part of a degree program.

Take for example a community college near where I live in the suburbs of Chicago. They offer numerous options for employers in need of affordable, high-quality training programs.  I can speak first-hand of this having participated in several of their programs.  I was impressed with the caliber of the learning I received as well as the feedback from employees I sent to the programs.

Whether you are an employer seeking a way to give your employees an opportunity to de-stress or your group needs teambuilding (noncredit art class), have employees who need to be certified in a particular area (forklift or OSHA compliance training) or seek workplace development programs (managing conflict with peers), community colleges offer programs to meet businesses’ learning budgets and time constraints.  Additionally, many programs are offered several times during the year or can be customized for your business.  Plus, classes are often taught by community leaders or certified trainers.

To learn more about business learning options at a community college near you, go to the college’s website and search on terms like business learning, corporate training, or workforce development if you do not see a call out on the college’s home page.  Still stuck?  Contact us for community college connections.

Chambers of Commerce

A chamber of commerce is a local association that promotes and represents the interests in the business community in a local areas.  Since chambers support business, they offer events that support businesses’ needs in such areas as business growth, individual development, networking skills, and social media.  Many of the sessions chambers offer are during meal times or in the evenings so attending is more convenient.  They also over series-based programs that span over several weeks, broken out into short-length sessions.  This upcoming interactive program on leadership is an example of how chambers takes a large topic and break it down into employer-friendly learning sessions

Here are four recent or upcoming chamber learning events in the Chicago area for under $100/person (available for members as well as non-members):

Check out the chambers in your area to see what type of programs are scheduled.

Organizations having affordable in-person learning options close to either their workplace or their employees’ homes allows more flexibility in the learning mix they offer their employees.

Feel free to contact Cued Forward to discuss your organization’s learning needs or to find learning experience providers. We can help you understand your organization’s learning needs, increase employee satisfaction and retention, and keep your business moving towards its goals.

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